Poetic Diction and Poetic References in the Preludes of Plato’s Laws

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This doctoral dissertation investigates how Plato elaborates and incorporates the works of the poets in the preludes to the laws. It is argued that the poetic style of the preludes represents a key element for the Athenian’s purpose of persuading the citizens of Magnesia to spontaneously abide to the new legislation that is being laid out.
The analysis is divided in four chapters. Chapter 1 discusses the general approach that has been followed in the reading of the dialogue, for example, the acknowledgement of the parainetic and protreptic nature of the Platonic dialogues. Chapter 2 engages with the methodology used, a distinction is here made between poetic influences and poetic references occurring in the preludes. Chapter 3 concerns the investigation of 21 preludes which have been divided in three groups: group 1, “Praise and Blame”, examines the encomiastic discourse of the Athenian, and more specifically the poetic references to the epinician genre; group 2, “Jussive Parainesis”, analyses the diction and the prescriptive style of the preludes; group 3, “Myth as Poetic Rationale” focusses on the resort to fictive stories as a useful means to instil in the young the desire to follow the regulations established for Magnesia. Each group is followed by a concluding section, which summarises the results of the preceding analysis. Chapter 4 restates the findings of the investigations, interprets the preludes in relation to tragic theatre and engages in a discussion regarding the important meaning at 7.717b of the politeia as “truest tragedy.”


  • Claudia Zichi
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Humanities
  • Languages and Literature


  • Plato, Laws, Poetry, Preludes
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • Karin Blomqvist, Supervisor
  • Erler, Michael, Assistant supervisor, External person
Award date2018 Jun 9
Place of PublicationLund
  • mediatryck, Lund University
Print ISBNs 978-91-7753-708-3
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7753-709-0
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 9
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2018-06-09 Time: 10:15 Place: Hörsalen, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Capra, Andrea Title: associate professor Affiliation: Durham University, England ---

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